Much like the recent Billy Gillispie and Dez Wells’ stories, it’s important to stay grounded in light of a recent sexual abuse accusation against Iowa State guard Bubu Palo. Head coach Fred Hoiberg has indefinitely suspended his backup point guard, so it’s now time for the legal process to begin. According to police reports, a woman told authorities Palo and another man, 21-year-old Spencer Cruise, drove her to a home in Ames in May and forced her to have sex with them. A sergeant in the Ames Police Department said it collected DNA evidence from both Palo and Cruise, which led to their arrests last week. In fact, Palo turned himself in at the advice of his attorney, and he now faces a serious prison sentence if convicted. Those are the facts of the case, so judge the situation however you’d like. We’re staying out of this debate. It’d be unfair to the victim to assume she’s lying, and it’d be unfair to Palo to assume the accusations against him are true. So instead of taking aside, this is all we’ll say: There are serious allegations against Bubu Palo, and he’ll likely never play for the Cyclones again unless he’s fully exonerated.
That’s the story here– that this happened to Bubu Palo. Whether he’s guilty of sexual abuse or not, it would be almost impossible to find a more bizarre candidate to appear in a story of this magnitude. If there were an illustration of the American Dream walking among us in college basketball, it’d be Palo. Just look at his background. He’s a hometown kid and a graduate of Ames High School. No criminal history. Academic All-Big 12. A former walk-on who earned a scholarship and made a name for himself as a gritty, underrated reserve. So glancing at a headline about sexual abuse and seeing Palo’s name is, well, stunning, for lack of a better adverb.
The accusations also leave Iowa State without a reliable backup point guard, placing a little more pressure on Michigan State transfer Korie Lucious, the obvious starter at that position. Palo was also the longest-tenured Cyclone guard, having played three seasons in Ames, including a redshirt year. Seniors Chris Babb and Tyrus McGee, on the other hand, joined the program last year as transfers. It seems a little silly to talk basketball after allegations of such consequence, however. Iowa State will trudge on for now without Palo, and Hoiberg must now wait patiently until he learns the legal fate of his backup point guard.